Steve Smith says he expects “negativity” from some parts after he was officially unveiled as Australia’s Test vice-captain.
The return to an official leadership role completes an arduous journey back to the top for the 32-year-old, whose three-year run as skipper ended in a tearful press conference back in 2018 amid the ball-tampering scandal.
Speaking alongside Australia’s new Test skipper Pat Cummins, Smith touched on his journey back to the top since that fateful day in Cape Town.
“I’ve been in a position the last few years playing as a leader and now the opportunity obviously to be standing here next to Patrick as a formal leader, a titled leader, I’m truly honoured,” he told reporters.
“There will be some negativity from some people around it, I understand that and I get that, but for me, I know that I’ve grown a great deal over the last three or four years.
“I’m a more rounded individual, and in turn, it’s turned me into a better leader and I’m excited to be in this position next to Patrick.
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“I think he’s done a terrific job over the last few years as vice-captain and he’s grown into a terrific leader.
“I look forward to doing everything that I can in my power to help Patrick and to help this team grow into a successful one both on and off the field. We’re both really excited and can’t wait to get started in a couple of weeks’ time.”
With Cummins the first fast bowler to captain Australia in the Test format since Ray Lindwall in 1956, Smith is likely to have an elevated level of responsibility compared to a regular vice-captain.
Cummins said he would “lean on [Smith] hugely” given his leadership experience, and Smith himself is also prepared to collaborate heavily.
“It’s my job to help Patrick in any way I can. If there’s times on the field when I can help and help the workload with Pat, then that’s my job,” he said.
“I’m excited to work with Patrick, we’ve known each other a long time and we’re close friends. We get on really well and I think we complement each other really well.
“I think this could be a really great partnership going forward. It’s my job to help Pat and to help grow this team into one that can hopefully be successful and one that Australia will be proud of.”